In Canon Law class last month, we addressed this very query, but with a proper foundation in reading the law.
Can. 18 states, “Laws which establish a penalty, restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception from the law are subject to strict interpretation.”
A “strict interpretation” is reading the law to the very letter. Not reading into it and placing things there that are simply not present.
So let’s look at Canon 917, which addresses how many times in one day one can receive Holy Communion:
Can. 917: “A person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates, without prejudice to the prescript of Can. 921.”
(As an FYI, Can. 921 s 2 addresses Viaticum and reads: “Even if they have been nourished by holy communion on the same day, however those in danger of death are strongly urged to receive communion again”)
Objection 1: I heard someone on the radio state that Holy Communion can only be received twice if the Mass is a different type of Mass, i.e. the first one is a Daily Mass, the second a Wedding. Or a Wedding early in the day and then the Sunday Vigil Mass later. Therefore, one could not receive communion the second time if they went to two daily Masses.
Objection 2: That means that if someone has already received Holy Communion, and goes to Mass again later, but is late and misses the first reading, they are prohibited from receiving a second time.
ON THE CONTRARY: These objections are a perfect example of reading something into the Law that isn’t there.
REPLY TO OBJECTION 1: I answer that: Canon Law states only that the second reception must take place within the Eucharistic celebration in which the person participates. That could be another daily Mass, it could be a wedding, a funeral, a second Sunday Mass. Canon Law does not give a distinction.
Thus we must strictly read and adhere to the law, and what it actually says, remembering Canon 18. As it would be a restriction of a right to tell someone that they can receive only at a second Mass celebrated for a different purpose, Canon 18 applies. In light of Canon 18, reading Canon 917 to the letter, we see that the ONLY requirement (outside of the Sacrament of the Sick) is that the second reception of Holy Communion requires participation in a Eucharistic celebration.
REPLY TO OBJECTION 2: Canon Law does not say that the person cannot receive if they are late; only that they must participate. If the person arrives late and participates to the degree possible, there is no reason, under Canon Law, why they would not be able to receive if they otherwise have the proper disposition. However, there may be another Church document outside of Canon Law that would address this issue. I will simply state that if we read Canon 917, it does not address lateness, only participation. We cannot read into the Law something that simply is not addressed within it. As "participation" is not defined, it is not a part of the decision as to whether someone can or cannot receive Holy Communion a second time if they arrive late to the eucharistic celebration.